2020 BMW M2 Competition vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M2 Competition’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Golf R doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the M2 Competition and the Golf R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The M2 Competition comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf R.

The M2 Competition’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M2 Competition for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Golf R.

Reliability

The battery on the M2 Competition is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the M2 Competition’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Golf R’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The M2 Competition’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 117 more horsepower (405 vs. 288) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 280) than the Golf R’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the M2 is faster than the Golf R (automatics tested):

M2

Golf R

Zero to 60 MPH

4.0 sec

4.5sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.1 sec

11.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.3 sec

5.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.3 sec

2.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

2.8 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

116 MPH

106 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the M2 Competition’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Golf R doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the M2 Competition has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Golf R doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M2 Competition’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf R:

M2 Competition

Golf R

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

12.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the M2 Competition has larger tires than the Golf R (F:245/35R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. 225/40R18). The M2 Competition’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf R (F:245/35R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The M2 Competition’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf R’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M2 Competition has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Golf R.

Suspension and Handling

The M2 Competition has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Golf R’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M2 Competition’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Golf R (106 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M2 Competition is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf R.

The M2 Competition’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.1% to 51.9%) than the Golf R’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the M2 Competition more stable handling and braking.

The M2 Competition Coupe handles at 1.01 G’s, while the Golf R pulls only .94 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The M2 Competition has 1.7 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more front legroom than the Golf R.

Cargo Capacity

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M2 Competition offers cargo security. The Golf R’s hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the M2 Competition. The Golf R doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the M2 Competition is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Golf R. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the M2 Competition, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Golf R doesn’t offer a memory system.

If the windows are left open on the M2 Competition the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf R can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

When the M2 Competition is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Golf R’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The M2 Competition has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf R has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the M2 Competition’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Golf R doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW M2 Competition offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Golf R doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

The M2 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Golf R hasn’t been picked since 2016.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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